Turkey Tours

Akdamar Island

Places to visit in Turkey -Van

Van Lake

Akdamar Island, Van

Ahtamar Island

Akdamar Island

Thanks to Haluk Uluhan for photos

Akdamar Island is located within the bay in south-east direction of Lake Van and in 4km. far from the coast and it is the biggest island within the lake. The oldest settlements in the Island, belong to Armenian Period. It is said that first settlements belong to Armenian Period. It is said that first settlements belong to A.D. 4th Century. Island was the capital city of Armenain Kingdom once upon a time. Island was managed by Reshtuni Family and a monastery was constructed by the order of Tehodor Reshtuni in 653. Armenian patricians were residing in this island between 924-959. Palace, church and port were constructed here by the order of Vaspurakan king I. Gagik between 915-921. Only standing church can reach today among these works. Structure, named as “Holy Cross Church” and reaching today in standing position, is constructed by king I. Gagik and clergyman-architect Manual between 915-921. Red sand Stones, used in the construction of church, is brought from Diyarbakır. Later on, outbuildings are constructed and church is extended. The church has a plan with four wings and cross shaped. Main place is covered with four wings and cross shaped. Main place is covered with cylindrical body and conical roof. Bell tower is aded into south of side of the church in 1900. Wall pictures (frescos) are still noticed under whitewash inside the church. Scenes, received from the holy books (Adam, Eve, David etc.) and king Gagik and his Family and saint reliefs are engraved on to do exterior walls of the church. These frescos and reliefs are restored by Armenian buisinessmen Gulbenkyan Foundation in 1963. Repair works are also started  in the church in 2006 and it is opened as monument museum for public visits in March, 2007. 1358 dated Halime Hatun Large Tomb, belonging to Karakoyunlular period, is located in Gevaş, which is located next to Akdamar Island. Some church and monastery remains are also situated in the other small islands other than Akdamar Island is Van Lake.